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Juries to be dropped in British fraud cases

Posted by James Hammerton @ 8:19 pm on 30 October, 2005.
Categories democracy and the rule of law.
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The Telegraph reports that the British government has laid a draft order before Parliament which if passed will enable judges to sit alone in fraud cases:

A draft order was laid before Parliament to implement provisions allowing judges to sit alone in serious or complicated fraud cases. If the order is approved, it will apply to defendants tried from Jan 1.

The move is expected to affect between 15 and 20 cases a year. It will apply only to cases where the judge considers that the trial is too “burdensome” for a jury and the Lord Chief Justice has given his approval.

Simon Hughes, the Liberal Democrat MP, said yesterday that the Government’s move would be opposed in the Lords.

“Juries are the best people to be the judges of fact, and have the overwhelming confidence of the public to do the job,” he said.

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